ALEA launches annual spring break driving safety campaign

Published: Mar. 9, 2023 at 3:10 PM CST|Updated: Mar. 13, 2023 at 5:58 AM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Alabama state troopers are again sending a reminder to Think Smart Before You Start this spring break.

The campaign encourages people to drive safer as we enter the spring and summer seasons. This year, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency is focusing on warning Alabamians about the dangers of impaired driving and opioids.

“Tuesday night, Governor Kay Ivey announced during the annual State of the State Address that she has tasked ALEA with combatting dangerous opioids such as Fentanyl, through the State’s Drug Task Force,” ALEA Secretary Hal Taylor said in a news release. “The opioid crisis is a growing issue across the nation, and it affects our communities, schools and our loved ones. I would like to reassure the citizens of Alabama that this a top priority of ALEA and we will continue to viciously combat the opioid epidemic through all areas of law enforcement to preserve public safety. This includes targeted enforcement initiatives reducing both drug trafficking as well as impaired driving, in conjunction with educational campaigns and community outreach programs.”

ALEA says many substances can impair driving, including alcohol, marijuana, opioids, methamphetamines or any potentially impairing drug–prescribed or over the counter. Alcohol, marijuana and other medications can impair driving ability because they slow coordination, judgment and reaction times. Cocaine and methamphetamine can lead to aggressive and reckless driving behaviors.

Alead added that using two or more drugs simultaneously, including alcohol, can amplify the impairing effects of each drug a person has consumed. Some prescription and over-the-counter medicines can cause extreme drowsiness, dizziness and have other side effects that diminish an individual’s ability to operate a motor vehicle safely.

“Citizens should read and follow all warning labels before driving and note that warnings against ‘operating heavy machinery’ include driving a vehicle,” the department said in the release. “In addition to under-age drinking and drugs, parents and teens should be aware of candy laced with cannabis, fentanyl and other substances that are manufactured and packaged to look like actual candy. The packaging may only have small changes in spelling and may include such terms as ‘medicated,’ ‘THC’ and ‘60 Minute Activation Time.’”

ALEA previously released these spring safety tips:

  • Safety first. Review the law and discuss safety before your teens make plans for spring break, prom or graduation, and be sure you are aware of the route they will take, estimated arrival times, etc.
  • Buckle up. No matter how short the trip, everyone in the vehicle must buckle up.
  • Put your cellphones down. The driver must forget all distractions and focus on driving.
  • Obey the law. The driver must follow speed limits, not follow too closely, not make illegal lane changes, use the left lane for passing and move over for emergency vehicles.
  • No DUIs. Hand over the keys if you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Over-the-counter and prescription drugs can have the same effect as alcoholic beverages.
  • Have the conversation. Parents should take the opportunity to share with their children how the consequences of their decisions can affect their lives and others.
  • Monitor your teens if alcoholic beverages are around, particularly during prom and graduation seasons.

Before the prom and graduation gatherings, officials say you should remind teens not to accept rides from anyone under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Discuss a plan B should this occur, whether to call home for a ride or a ride-share service.

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